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January 2003

Store Return Policy

Contact Person:
James W. Reed, Deputy Commissioner


The Nassau County Office of Consumer Affairs wants to remind shoppers of their rights with regard to the return of purchased merchandise. All too often, a consumer is stuck with a product they would like to return or exchange, simply because they are unaware of the law governing the return of goods. The following law should help consumers during this holiday season.

Retail mercantile establishments are required to conspicuously post their refund policy as to all goods, wares or merchandise offered to the public for sale. The sign may be attached to the item itself, on a sign affixed to each cash register or point of sale, on a sign so situated as to be clearly visible to the buyer from the cash register, or on a sign posted at each store entrance used by the public.

The required sign shall state whether or not it is the policy of the establishment to give refunds and, if so, under what conditions, including but not limited to whether a refund will be given - on merchandise which had been advertised as "sale" or "as is" merchandise; on merchandise for which no proof of purchase exists; at any time or not beyond a point in time specified; or in cash, or as credit or store credit only.

Any retail mercantile establishment which violates any provision of this section shall be liable, for a period of up to twenty days from the date of purchase, to the buyer for a cash refund or a credit, at the buyer's option, provided that the merchandise has not been used or damaged by the buyer.

These provisions shall not apply to retail mercantile establishments or departments that have a policy of providing, for a period of not less than twenty days after the date of purchase, a cash refund for a cash purchase or providing a cash refund or issuing a credit for a credit purchase, which credit is applied to the account on which the purchase was debited, in connection with the return of its unused and undamaged merchandise.

This section of the law does not relieve any person, firm, corporation or association subject to the provisions of this section from complying with any law, ordinance, rule or regulation of any locality relating to the posting of refund policies which affords the buyer greater protection than do the provisions of this section.

If you feel a merchant is in violation of the law, or you have had difficulty returning a product, do not hesitate to contact the Nassau County Office of Consumer Affairs at 516-571-2600.